Sunday, 26 April 2015

Breaking even

I had a terrifically busy day yesterday although some of the plans didn't come to fruition - the people are coming to get the chicken house today instead of coming yesterday - and I had some unexpected visitors, and then I forgot to shop for the frozen sausage rolls that I had been asked to buy for the refreshments, so I ended up making cheese scones instead!

But it is just before 9am on Sunday morning and there is a service prepared and all is well in that department.  The quiz went well last night and we added about £120 to the church funds even though there were only about 20 people who came to the quiz - the top score was 63/100 so I think that the questions were sufficiently challenging.  I have to find another 100 for the end of June, and more for August and October so if anyone can recommend a source of good questions, I would LOVE to hear from you!

My garden is going to be renovated this week: new fence posts and a smartening up of one side of the driveway, and about 145 square metres of turf on the chicken's old run area, including a chap to rotovate the area over first.  The grass should grow well when the roots get down in to the years' worth of chicken manure that has gone into the ground in that area of the garden.  It is going to be done in a couple of days.  And the best bit of it is that it is not going to break the bank.  Due to the savings routine that I have got into this year, which has involved using one pot of income to pay the direct debits, my income from the phones for food and diesel and other day to day living bits, and saving everything else that comes in, I can pay for this work without incurring any credit charges or interest anywhere - and just use our savings.  I had a huge stroke of luck yesterday in that the unexpected visitors came from the local bee club and bought some of the FH's equipment, so those funds have gone straight into the "garden renovation" pot to help with the expenses.  I am hoping that by the end of the month, although the savings won't have been added to this month, they won't have shrunk by too much either because I am just spending this month's savings, if I am very careful!

I am looking into having some foreign exchange high school students to live with us from September to June whilst they attend the YFG's school in the Lower Sixth.  There is no "rent" but a generous food allowance is paid which would actually feed the family, not just the two students, and I think it would be a good experience for us all for nine months - for us to have more life about the place, more company of her own age for the YFG, and it would make me think harder about planning some more challenging and interesting meals - there has been a marked note of repetition in our menus lately here!  We are very early-on in that process and still finding out about it, but I'd also love to hear from anyone who has had long-term foreign students living with them.  I had lodgers from the local college when we lived in Cupar and some of them did come to us for the year, but they were Scottish boys, and went home at the weekends most of the time, whereas these would be girls from anywhere in Europe and would be here full time apart from a break at Christmas, usually, so we will be in uncharted waters for us!

Enough for this morning - lovely weather here for ducks so a good day to stay inside and catch up on the ironing and housework I think!  We have the YFG's friend coming for tea, and her brother to whom I teach maths, because their parents are going out tonight, and the YFG went to them for tea last night whilst I was at the quiz.  They are lovely young people and we really enjoy having them - and they play board [bored, in my case!] games with the YFG, so that is a bonus for me!


Sarah Head said...

I've only had one French boy staying for a month twice, so they just integrated with my own teenagers without any problems as they ate normally. A friend of mine has had lots of students stay with her and said the worst one she had was from Germany. The girl liked her main meal at midday and expected a special meal to be served to her then and in the evening and refused to join in with the rest of the family. I think you need to set the rules right at the beginning so your visitors don't expect special treatment. Also, it's an idea, especially as you're having them for such a long period, to make sure there are opportunities for both you and your guests to have time away from each other. Maybe ask other relatives to entertain them every so often so they are getting a change of scenery and you can have a rest and enjoy the peace and quiet of your own home. Also, if you are asked to take boys, rather than girls, that might be a whole new experience as they do eat more, sleep more and need exercising at regular intervals. One of our french lads was a long distance runner and the thought of letting him loose to just run in our town which he didn't know was frightening! when we took him to my parents' farm, he took off across the fields and we didn't see him again for several hours! Good luck, these experiences can be wonderful and life affirming or they can be a nightmare!

Jo said...

When my girls were in their teens, we had lots of foreign students staying with us - anything from one week to four months. It was a good experience for all of us (with the exception of just one French girl out of the 50 odd students who stayed). I agree about setting rules at the beginning of the stay. It is easier to relax a rule than to try and impose it later on.

Go for it : )